In the musical, Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye's eldest daughter begs him to not make her marry the wealthy butcher, but to allow her to marry the poor tailor. Why? Because she loves him . This stuns the father because love wasn't considered to be an important consideration in marriage. Tevye goes home and asks his wife if she loves him. Now she is stunned. She had never considered it. Their marriage had been arranged and she had tried to be a good wife. Love wasn't an issue.
In modern Western culture, most people feel that the only valid reason to marry is love, a word that means many different things to different people. But in other cultures, both present and past, love could be considered as an extra bonus if it was in the marriage—something that might come later. More important considerations might be to find a husband who could support and protect the family, or to find a healthy wife who could bear children and perform domestic duties well. There were “mail-order” brides in the early history of the United States. Farmers and ranchers needed wives and women needed husbands. These were valid marriages made with open eyes.
Sometimes marriages were made to seal a peace treaty. Marriages were made as a business arrangement between wealthy families. Some of these arrangements worked well and the couple was satisfied; others were less satisfactory. But they could all be valid marriages.
A marriage is a covenant and valid covenants and contracts can be made for many different reasons. A girl might marry to get away from the restrictive atmosphere of her parents' home. A lovely young woman might marry an older man for his money. He might marry her for her beauty. These may not be the best reasons to marry in the eyes of some, but unless there is lying and deception, there isn't fraud. He knows she isn't marrying him for his looks and she knows he isn't marrying her for her experience and wisdom. Later, he may wish for a mature conversation and relationship and she may feel like a bird in a gilded cage.
Yes, a marriage begun without love can be valid. Of course God wants husbands and wives to grow in love (Ephesians 5:25 Ephesians 5:25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
American King James Version×, Titus 2:4 Titus 2:4That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
American King James Version×). We each must do our part to show that love. UN